The National Farmers Union held briefings this week for members of both the House and senate Agriculture Committees and their staffs. The discussion focused on the Grain Inspection and Stockyards Administration proposed rule. The speaker panel at the briefings was comprised of Craig Watts, contract poultry grower from North Carolina, Bob Mack, cattle feeder from South Dakota, and Alan Hoefling, independent pork producer and Farmers Union member from Iowa.
NFU President Roger Johnson says it is important to hear - the voices of U.S. producers - through this rulemaking process. The broken livestock marketing system has taken a toll on rural America. The number of U.S. beef and hog operations has been rapidly declining over the last 30 years. The GIPSA rule would prevent packers and processors from abusing their market power and would protect the rights of producers.
Johnson notes - some aspects of the proposed rule would benefit from additional clarification, but overall the rule is a much-needed regulatory measure to increase competition and allow access to fair markets for farmers and ranchers. Johnson says the proposed rule addresses concerns that have been discussed in the industry for decades.